“Don’t go to bed angry”
I can not tell you how many times I have heard that phrase in my life. Too many to count.
When Brendan and I got married, at the guest sign in table we had this paper machete ballon that we had people put encouraging notes in. On our 1st anniversary we opened it to see what people wrote us and to relive the memory of that day.
“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”
….. That phrase was in there probably 38 times. And boy we were annoyed with how many times people wrote that down. After that we kind of hated that phrase because we felt like it was a corny piece of advice.
It comes from a verse in the Bible
Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV “‘ in your anger do not sin’ : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
I kind of rolled my eyes at it for a long time. But then, after being married sometime and realizing the truth in this statement, I stopped rolling my eyes.
While there are many more and different pieces of advice I could say or give to you about marriage, this may be in the top 5.
The divorce rate is a little over 50% now a days, which just saddens me. And as much as I’d like to say there is a quick fix, there is definitely not a quick fix. I have seen it with my own eyes with people around me and it can destroy a person for some amount of time.
I will do my absolute best to be in the percentages of marriages that stay together because I made a commitment to my Husband. And one way I will do that is… you guessed it, not go to bed angry.
Let’s think about this for a second.
When you are angry with your spouse your emotions are high and maybe out of control. Everyone deals with anger in different ways and it takes time to heal, apologize, or get over it. And once you both talk it over, apologize, all is (usually) forgiven.
And maybe it was a huge fight, you’re boiling mad and maybe you need time to heal. So you take a few days to cool off and regroup. There are times that happens and I think it is totally okay, as long as you and your spouse come back with level heads and forgive.
But what if you are boiling mad, you take a few hours (or days) to calm down, and then you never talk about it and let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Then, a few weeks later it happens again. You’re yelling, crying, maybe even screaming, just boiling mad at your spouse and what is happening or what was said. You again take a few days to cool off. You regroup later and everything remains the same.
And then, what if it happens again?! You’re left wondering why in the world this is happening again. You’re bringing up past situations and things that were said. Things to hurt the other person so they feel the same way as you do.
You’re in this crazy cycle of a hamster wheel. How did this happen?
You went to bed angry and never forgave.
Maybe you forgave the next morning. My husband and I have done that.
But what happens if you always do that, you go to bed with this festering anger and it it keeps filling up. Before you know it, you explode like a volcano and the damage done isn’t a quick fix.
You may think one or two little fights that you went to bed mad about aren’t a big deal.
They are a big deal.
The feelings and emotions of anger tend to stick around for awhile and make you think crazy things if they aren’t forgiven or let go of.
What if it is like this 10 years down the road of your marriage? And you’re still thinking about the times when you were angry and woke up still angry. You have let that anger fester for so long, is it repairable? Can it be forgiven?
I am not writing this to make you feel like you can never be angry or have a fight or let things get to you. Because they inevitably will, because we are humans who have strong emotions and flaws.
I am writing this to help the realization of the impact of the phrase “don’t go to bed angry” in our marriages.
The times that I have gone to bed mad and woke up happy in the morning have been equal to ZERO. The times I have gone to bed mad and woken up made the next morning, well every single time I go to bed mad. In those times I have definitely given the devil the foothold of my emotions and he has ran with them.
But as soon as things are forgiven (either that day or the next one) the red steam coming out of my ears cools down. And I am no longer the host of angry emotions.
Oh you guys it is always better to forgive than to rage the anger. I know that it is difficult, trust me, I am the stubborn forgiver of my husband and I. He is quick to forgive but I am not, and I want to hold onto it.
I am learning to forgive and to mean it when I forgive, because I am not the best at it and I would preferably like to stay mad. But I know that it only does bad more than anything else.
And because I am committed to my marriage, I choose to forgive and not let the sun go down on my anger. Even if it is just a small acknowledgment of “I’m sorry, I know I said horrible things today, we can talk about it in the morning”
I say it because it matters the next day.
So, even though “don’t go to bed angry” might be a cheesy quote to you, don’t let it stay a cheesy quote in your mind. Why?
Because it matters the next day. And all the days after that.
I realize that this may be a hard topic for some and there are SO many other things that go into forgiving a person. Maybe you think that what they did is unforgivable.
Whatever it may be, I am praying that one day both of you can forgive each other and learn to not let that anger give a foothold to other emotions or words.
I hope this post encouraged you today. It is definitely something I am thinking about and taking it to heart with me.
As always, thank you for reading!
~Erin, The Short Wife
Colossians 3:13 NIV “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (italics mine)